Author Topic: Are airbags Mustachian?  (Read 3775 times)

fa

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Are airbags Mustachian?
« on: November 03, 2014, 07:47:35 AM »
I own a vehicle from 1998 that is going strong at 142,000 miles.  There is a sticker in the door that says to replace the airbags in May 2013.  Oooops.  Did not see this before.  I know that airbags are very expensive to replace.  This is an issue of safety vs cost of replacement vs value of the car.  The car is worth about $1,000.  I have not looked into it but the cost of airbags runs in the thousands I believe.  Then again, maybe the airbags really are okay, even though they are past their expiration date.  Properly working airbags greatly add a lot to the safety of a car.  So my dilemma is to replace them or not, or get rid of the vehicle.  How would a Mustachian handle this situation?

RWD

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 08:31:08 AM »
I thought they just needed to be inspected to see if they needed replacement, as opposed to replacing blindly. I'm not sure about a 1998, but the price for just the front two airbags of my 2005 vehicle is around $1,200 + labor.

My recommendation would be to see if you can have them inspected. If they need replacement you're probably better off either pulling the airbag fuse or looking for a replacement vehicle.

skunkfunk

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 08:32:01 AM »
Too damn expensive. Drive safely, don't drive very much, and forget it.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 08:48:50 AM »
I did some research on this and basically most sources indicate that as long as the SRS light is not illuminated, the airbags are still passing their internal checks.  That doesn't mean they are guaranteed to work, but the electrical portion at least still passes its checks.  Solid fuels of this type are frequently able to still function normally several decades after manufacture but ask anyone who picked up a 50-year old box of rifle ammunition at a surplus sale and they'll probably tell you about how 1 out of every 50 rounds or so simply won't fire or else misfired and either left the bullet in the barrel or having left the barrel at far lower than designed velocity.

I have a 1997 car and am far more concerned about the fact that crash structures and crumple zones on cars from the 90's were horrible compared to modern cars.  This is especially true of economy cars, which is exactly what mine is and you're basically guaranteed injury or death in a 90's car if you get in a crash equal to the partial or small overlap tests they run now, which simulate various types of real-world collisions.  It's actually pretty rare in the real world for two cars to collide 100% head-on with total overlap.  The partial overlap crashes are much more common and a lot harder to survive in cars from before 2005 or so.

For me, I mitigate a lot of the risk by simply not driving much.  Driving risk is measured on a per-mile basis and actually it is measured to be higher risk on weekdays, during rush hours, and overnight.  I do my best to eliminate as much driving as I can as well as to avoid the high risk periods.  Maybe in another 6 months to a year I'll replace my car with something safer and with modern features like heat & air-conditioning, neither of which does my car have.

BlueMR2

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 09:55:42 AM »
Driving risk is measured on a per-mile basis and actually it is measured to be higher risk on weekdays, during rush hours, and overnight.  I do my best to eliminate as much driving as I can as well as to avoid the high risk periods.

Don't forget Sunday mornings.  Most of my near misses by car, motorcycle, and bicycle have all occurred on Sunday mornings.  Which, considering it's such a small fraction of my travels is pretty scary.  Traffic is very light, and apparently the lulls people into complacency as they just don't seem to see me...

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 10:17:59 AM »
Don't forget Sunday mornings.  Most of my near misses by car, motorcycle, and bicycle have all occurred on Sunday mornings.  Which, considering it's such a small fraction of my travels is pretty scary.  Traffic is very light, and apparently the lulls people into complacency as they just don't seem to see me...

I can only guess that varies by location and time of day.  Out here in the other bible belt, there's hardly any traffic on Sundays, especially if you're in one of the towns with a high concentration of Mormons, since they are also less likely to be drunk or have a morning-after hung over drive home from a party.

Sorry for the eye chart tiny print, but you can see an interesting visualization of traffic fatalities below.  The time of day you get fatalities on Saturday/Sunday is highest over the 9pm to 6am spread, versus the fatalities on Monday-Friday which cluster around business hours with exception of Friday, which gets heavier and heavier with fatalities as the afternoon turns into night.



Click here for a far larger version of the above chart.

fa

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 05:35:45 PM »
Thanks for the responses!

No lights come on, so the electrical portion should be good.   The car was very advanced in 1998 and its safety features are still considered very good.  So I am really not excited about buying another vehicle.  I assume that many people face this issue as airbags are getting older.

okashira

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 07:32:57 PM »
Find a 1997 model of your car in a yard and... erm, "test" the airbag? :-D

okashira

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 07:39:06 PM »
Don't forget Sunday mornings.  Most of my near misses by car, motorcycle, and bicycle have all occurred on Sunday mornings.  Which, considering it's such a small fraction of my travels is pretty scary.  Traffic is very light, and apparently the lulls people into complacency as they just don't seem to see me...

I can only guess that varies by location and time of day.  Out here in the other bible belt, there's hardly any traffic on Sundays, especially if you're in one of the towns with a high concentration of Mormons, since they are also less likely to be drunk or have a morning-after hung over drive home from a party.

Sorry for the eye chart tiny print, but you can see an interesting visualization of traffic fatalities below.  The time of day you get fatalities on Saturday/Sunday is highest over the 9pm to 6am spread, versus the fatalities on Monday-Friday which cluster around business hours with exception of Friday, which gets heavier and heavier with fatalities as the afternoon turns into night.



Click here for a far larger version of the above chart.

Be careful when reading that chart.
There are many more drivers during rush hour so of course fatailities will be higher. But on a per mile basis, it might actually be safer to commute during that time.

The chart needs adjustment for per/mile.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Are airbags Mustachian?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 09:21:27 PM »
The chart needs adjustment for per/mile.

There's always a gotcha, right?  Actually if anything, that makes it clear just exactly how dangerous driving in the wee hours is following a Friday or Saturday night is.  The number of drivers at 3am on a Saturday/Sunday pre-dawn morning is going to be dramatically fewer than during rush hour on a weekday, yet there's still more fatalities at 3am following Friday/Saturday night.  I'm sure you're right and that adjusted on a per passenger mile basis it would be through the roof at that point.